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Merger Group loses HBOS court case

The Merger Action Group, which was trying to block the impending Lloyds TSB HBOS merger in the courts, has lost its case.

Although the case was dismissed, the Competition Appeal Tribunal found that the group were right and proper people to bring the action, which had been raised under public interest concerns.

Immediately after the tribunal ruling, MAG said it was considering its position over whether it would appeal the tribunal’s decision to the Court of Session in
Edinburgh.

Although the hearing was held in London, it was conducted under Scots Law because the applicants were mainly Scotland-based and the impact of the merger if it goes ahead will be felt more keenly north of the Border than elsewhere.

MAG spokesman Malcolm Fraser, an Edinburgh architect, says: “We are pleased that Sir Gerald Barling QC, the tribunal chairman, acknowledged in his findings that we were absolutely right to bring this case forward in the public interest, despite the best efforts of Lord Mandelson’s legal team to have our case rejected.

“We will now be having intensive meetings with our legal team regarding a possible appeal to the findings of the tribunal.”

HBOS welcomed the decision and says the challenge was an unnecessary and unhelpful distraction. Tomorrow its shareholders will convene to vote on the proposed merger.

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